Getting it right


Just snippets today…

A couple of interesting comments (edit: made by visitors to his page – I just omitted the names for privacy reasons) on one of Michael Yon’s Facebook threads…

I’ve been in the army since Regan was president. i lived through the drawdown and saw how within several years the Army culture changed dramatically. zero defects was the norm… PC culture was jammed down our throats by new “sensitivity” initiatives. anyone that dared cross a PC line was slammed and pushed aside. when i attended the Strategy program at CGSC, we were fed a steady diet of liberal internationalist philosophy by Barnett, Nye, Fukuyama , and surprisingly the failed Sec of State Kissinger. these aren’t the people that are going to solve our strategic problems. in fact, they are the problem. we need to return to the classics of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, etc.

Personally I despise Sun Tzu, or certainly the popular pulp interpretations of his philosophies…I always mentally deduct marks when I see Sun Tzu quotes in papers and books I am reviewing…it’s, like, couldn’t you apply yourself enough to find a supporting quote with some substance behind it? But that’s just me…I do however support a return to study based upon the classic thinkers, especially as a foundation upon which to consider more contemporary works…

The government of South Vietnam was inept and corrupt … so it was illegitimate as far as the population was concerned. The South Vietnamese gov’t never won the support of its people and could not stand on its own without massive U.S. financial and military support. So the end was inevitable. I don’t know how much effect we can have on Karzai and his clown posse, but without an effective government in Afghanistan the fight is already lost.

The positive and negative parallels with the war in Vietnam continue to grow…on the positive side we see the incredible dedication and professionalism of individuals at the sharp end, regardless of the direction and reasons for the conflict; and we see the opportunity to get it write through the writings of people like Jim Gant, Josh Wineera and Steve Tatham, all of whom have identified key aspects that might make this war winnable – although chance is becoming slim indeed as the US prepares to meet its 2011 drawdown target…On the negative side we see war in an environment we do not understand; the top-down political meddling in the campaign plan; and the bolstering of a government that only serves to reinforce the opposition…

The Enemy Within

As I type this morning, the news is covering a taxi driver’s murderous rampage in Whitehaven in the UK…already here, commentators are noting the difficulties faced by UK Police due to their unarmed posture and linking this to our own unarmed police force. The anti-gun lobby hasn’t arced up yet but it must be winding up already…the simple fact is that the UK already has very strict gun control laws ans still something like this occurs…

More guns, less guns is not the core issue…if someone wants to go out like this, they will find a way, guns or no guns…and while I support the arming of Police (why not? everyone else is armed), that is a response whereas I think that we need to be looking at how to interdict this threat before it ever gets played out…

On the run…

Right that it for now…have to dash as I have a big day ahead maximising the sun while it has been out…we have had a lot of rain over the last few days and everything is drenched. Fortunately we live in top of a hill and have escaped the floods that hit Whakatane and Oamaru this week…

I have made considerable progress this week is identifying potential options that might finally get us (affordable) broadband access at home – I do so miss being able to listen in on the monthly Virtual Brown Bag sessions at the CAC COIN Center – either through the miracles of satellite or mobile technologies…

I also am steeling myself for the inevitable jabbing and stabbing medical assessments as part of transferring across to the Air Force…so long as there’s no pysch assessments, I should be OK…!!

My two COIN-related priorities remain completing my review of the Mandelbrot book and offering my two cents to the incredible amount of great insights that Dean @ Shiloh brought back from the COIN Symposium at Ft Leavenworth last month…

Edit: This Just In…

Hawkeye UAV in action

This came in just as I hit the Publish button…it’s some of the imagery captured during Hawkeye UAV sorties in the South Island last week that shows off the Hawkeye capability – like Transformers, ‘more than meets the eye’…it is way more than just a little UAV with a camera…the true value to the client is the real time geo-referencing and overlay of imagery over 3D terrain models and subsequent analysis using the Hawkeye suite of tools…all this happens in the field in real or close to real time…very cool…

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5 thoughts on “Getting it right

  1. Ah…Yon’s descent into madness continues. I remain concerned that he’s got a slightly distorted view of reality. ‘I’ve been in the army since Regan was president.’ No, he hasn’t. He was in the army during the Reagan presidency. I dig his affinity for the troops but this is problematic.

    Changing the subject completely, I suspect you’ve seen this already but thought it might give you some fodder for your modeling projects…http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2010/06/01/kubinka-2010/#more-13558

    And, I’m really looking forward to your COIN review.

  2. My mistake – now corrected – the comments were from his FB page but by other visitors – I just thought they were quite apt and relevant. When Micahel Yon sticks to what he is good at i.e. portraying the human side of conflict from the POV of a man on the street, he is brilliant – and very useful. Flagging up the story of an officer who had his $300k home sold out from under him (for $3500) over an $800 while deployed is good although I think the story if as told needs to be followed up and validated. Openly and actively attacking key commanders without offering any alternatives strategies and conducting smear campaigns against those who he takes a dislike to is unprofessional (even in a professional that struggles with ethics and values), counter-productive to both US and allied morale and effectiveness, and blinding evidence of his immaturity – what you referred to so well as ’19 year old private soldier syndrome’…

    Cheers for the link to Kubinka…I would love to get up there and to the air equivalent and Monino…will have to convince the boss that we need to demonstrate some UAVs up that way!!

    Am chewing my way through your COIN material but it is like being in one of those mega-food malls for the first time…oh, oh, I want some of that, oh, nope, I want this instead…oh, oh, look some that that you…wow, they’ve got everything here…!

    • Yep…fantastically cool looking vehicles – and probably a good thing for our side that they wasted so much effort on such non-starters…

  3. This is one of the most powerful discussions I ever studied in a long time, I’m uttering about this part of your post “…&#8230The Enemy WithinAs I type this morning, the news is covering a taxi driver&#8217s murderous …” it also made me think about the day I met my husband.

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